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NFB short filmmaking featured at TIFF 2020. World premiere of 4 North A, by acclaimed Toronto-based filmmakers Jordan Canning and Howie Shia, at the Toronto International Film Festival.


August 25, 2020 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The Toronto International Film Festival is presenting the world premiere of 4 North A, a new National Film Board of Canada animated short directed by Jordan Canning and Howie Shia, and written by Jordan Canning.

“The idea for 4 North A grew out of memories my mother told me about, of summers she’d spent on Amherst Island as a child. I was struck by the recurrence of animals and death in her descriptions and began connecting them to a story of her tending her father’s final days in the hospital. Later, as I too found myself providing care for a beloved partner, I started imagining what it might have been like if my mother and I had been strangers in the same ward, going through these painful experiences—alone, but together.”

 – Jordan Canning

Canning and Shia’s short is part of an NFB selection at TIFF that includes Michelle Latimer’s new feature documentary Inconvenient Indian (90th Parallel Productions/National Film Board of Canada).

Public screening schedule

4 North A

Press and industry screening:
September 10 | 11:00 a.m. EST | TIFF Digital Cinema Pro (online, accredited access only)

Public screenings:
September 11 | 6:00 p.m. EST | Bell Digital Cinema (online, geo-restricted to Canada)

Inconvenient Indian

Press and industry screening:
September 11 | 11:00 a.m. EST | TIFF Digital Cinema Pro (online, accredited access only)

Public screenings:
September 12 | 4:45 p.m. EST | TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1
September 12 | 5:15 p.m. EST | TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 2
September 13 | 6:00 p.m. EST | Bell Digital Cinema (online, geo-restricted to Canada)
September 17 | 5:00 p.m. EST | TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 2

About 4 North A

A woman sits in a hospital room, alone with her dying father. As the constant din of antiseptic hospital noises pushes her to confront her inevitable loss, she escapes into a series of lush childhood memories.

With its quiet yet expressive soundtrack, and a beautiful, subdued design that shifts between the pale palette of the hospital and the lively, painterly landscapes of the woman’s memories, 4 North A is a deeply personal film about mortality, memory, and discovering connection in unlikely spaces.

The creators of 4 North A

4 North A is the first-ever collaboration between Jordan Canning and Howie Shia.

Canning’s film credits include her features We Were Wolves (TIFF 2014) and Suck it Up, named Best Feature Film at the 2017 B3 Biennale in Frankfurt, her multi-award-winning 2010 animated short Not Over Easy, as well as her directorial work on the TV series Baroness Von Sketch Show, Burden of Truth and Schitt’s Creek. Canning is originally from Newfoundland and Labrador.

This is the fifth NFB short for the Saskatoon-born Shia, including his 2006 film, Flutter, the first work from outside Asia to win the prestigious Open Entries Grand Prize at the Tokyo Anime Awards, as well as BAM (TIFF 2015), which was nominated for Best Animated Short at the 4th Canadian Screen Awards.

4 North A is produced by Annette Clarke and executive produced by Annette Clarke (NFB Quebec and Atlantic Studio) and Michael Fukushima (NFB English Animation Studio), and was developed in association with The Newfoundland & Labrador Film Development Corporation

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Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailer, synopses: 4 North A | Inconvenient Indian

Associated Links

90th Parallel Productions
Toronto International Film Festival

French version here | Version française ici.

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    The NFB is Canada’s public producer of award-winning creative documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences. NFB producers are embedded in communities across the country, from St. John’s to Vancouver, working with talented creators on innovative and socially relevant projects. The NFB is a leader in gender equity in film and digital media production, and is working to strengthen Indigenous-led production, guided by the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. NFB productions have won over 7,000 awards, including 24 Canadian Screen Awards, 21 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 100 Genies. To access this award-winning content and discover the work of NFB creators, visit NFB.ca, download its apps for mobile devices or visit NFB Pause.